The Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is Southwest and Chase’s flagship credit card. It has a $149 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). But it also offers a nice sign-up bonus and some excellent perks for Southwest lovers.
Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular domestic airlines in the United States. They also have several co-branded credit cards with Chase because of such popularity. The Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Card is one of three mid-tier cards that the airline offers. But it has the highest annual fee and the most perks of the set.
Unfortunately, the Southwest Premier Card is not the best earner. It earns 2x Rapid Rewards points per dollar on Southwest Airlines purchases and just one on non-bonus spend. There are better options for both Southwest Airlines and non-bonus expenses. It’s “little sibling”, the Chase Southwest Premier Card, is not one of them because both cards have the same earning structure.
However, Chase and Southwest provide cardholders other opportunities to earn points as well. To start, new cardholders can earn a sign-up bonus worth 40,000 Rapid Rewards points. It can be earned by spending $1,000 within the first three months. This bonus is a nice start towards earning an elusive Southwest Companion Pass. The pass can be earned with 125,000 points
Furthermore, the Premier Card comes with an anniversary bonus worth 7,500 points. Cardholders will receive this bonus upon paying the card’s $149 annual fee each year. This bonus alone can be enough points to justify the card’s annual fee for those who value Rapid Rewards points at 1.5 cents apiece (CPP).
This is the most valuable and easy way to redeem Rapid Rewards points. Southwest does not publish an award chart online. Instead, cardholders must go to their website and enter the dates they would like to travel. The website will then show a list of flights and how much they cost in points and cash.
Wanna Get Away fares are the least expensive of the bunch while Business Select tickets are the most expensive. However, the cost of an award ticket is tied to the cash price of the flight. That means there is no need to worry about getting the highest possible redemption value.
Southwest lets cardholders redeem Rapid Rewards points in other ways too. Merchandise, gift cards, and hotel stays are some of the other ways to redeem points. But these options are not valuable because points are often worth less than 1 CPP. Plus, Southwest gives cardholders the option to redeem points for hotels, car rentals, or experiences. However, these options are not valuable either because points are worth less than 1 CPP in value.
Co-branded cards commonly come with benefits that will make traveling easier. The Southwest Priority Card is no exception as it comes some nice perks. However, the card does not come with any luxury perks like airport lounge access.
Annual Travel Credit
Southwest provides cardholders with a $75 travel credit every year they have the Priority Card. This credit is enough to justify about half of the card’s annual fee. But cardholders can justify the entire fee if they combine this credit with the anniversary bonus (assuming a points valuation of at least 1 CPP).
Cardholders will also receive four Upgraded Boardings each year they have the card. These Boardings are passes that let cardholders upgrade to a better seat for no additional cost. Upgraded Boardings may be purchased at the departure gate or ticket counter on the date of travel. The price (and value) of the Boardings depends on where the cardholder is going.
Free Checked Bags
Southwest will give cardholders their first two checked bags for free just for having the card. Assuming a value of $50 per bag, just two checked bags per year will justify the card’s annual fee.
Free Cancellation and Fare Changes
This benefit lets cardholders cancel or alter their plane tickets for no additional cost. Many other airlines have cancellation or fare change fees and they charge people who need to cancel.
Furthermore, Southwest will give cardholders back their points if they used points to book a flight and they need to cancel or change. Many competing airlines do not do this.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
Cardholders will save 3% with the Southwest Premier Card when they use it to travel outside the United States.
Chase Southwest Premier Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card is the “little sibling” to the Southwest Priority Card. Both cards are very similar; they both offer the same earning structure, sign-up bonus, and redemption options. However, the Premier Card has a $99 annual fee (NOT waived the first year). But it comes with a smaller anniversary bonus worth 6,000 Rapid Rewards points.
In essence, the Southwest Priority Card is the better option of the two for Southwest loyalists. However, the Premier Card is better for those who don’t want to spend more than $100 in annual fees.
Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the most comparable option to the Southwest Premier Card. However, it’s a better option for travelers who are not loyal to Southwest. That’s because the Sapphire Preferred earns Chase Ultimate Rewards (UR) points that can be transferred to Southwest. The Sapphire Preferred also has a $95 annual fee (NOT waived the first year).
Furthermore, the Sapphire Preferred earns 2x UR points on general travel and dining expenses, including Southwest flights. It also earns just one point for non-bonus spend. The Sapphire card’s earning structure is similar to that of the Southwest Priority Card. However, the big difference is that the 2x category is not limited to Southwest flights.
Plus, Chase is offering a sign-up bonus worth 60,000 UR points for the Sapphire Preferred. This bonus can be earned by spending $4,000 within the first three months. It also comes with a slew of benefits and travel insurances that the Southwest Premier Card does not come with.
American Express Green Card
The American Express Green Card is another alternative to the Southwest Priority Card. It comes with a $150 annual fee (NOT waived the first year) and some nice perks. Amex is also offering a sign-up bonus worth 30,000 MR points. It can be earned by spending $2,000 within the first three months.
The Green Card earns 3x Membership Rewards (MR) points on general travel and dining, including Southwest flights and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners. It also earns just one point for non-bonus spend. This earning structure is much better than that of the Southwest Priority Card. The bonus categories are not limited to Southwest (and partner) purchases and the multipliers are higher. Plus, the Green Card has more redemption options, including transferring points to Amex’s partners.
Furthermore, the Green Card has different benefits that the Priority Card does. The former comes with over CLEAR and Lounge Buddy credits, but no general travel or airline-related credits.
The Green Card is the better card for those who are not loyal to Southwest. This is especially true because Southwest is not a transfer partner with American Express. On the contrary, the Priority Card is better for domestic travelers who like to fly on Southwest Airlines.
The Southwest Priority Card is a great credit card for Southwest loyalists and many domestic travelers. It offers some nice perks like free checked bags and an annual anniversary bonus. But it can also be a way to obtain the Southwest Companion Pass. However, the Premier Card is a terrible card for everyday spend and it should not be used for such.
Apply Today: Chase Southwest Priority Card